INDIA, November 17, 2012 (HPI): HPI thanks a reader for sending us the press release below. It clarifies that a textbook published in India and purchased by schools which says meat-eaters "easily cheat, lie, forget promises and commit sex crimes," as reported by the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-20354669) is not connected to a Hindu author. The story was picked up by the wire services and appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post and many other news outlets, often carrying an implicit assumption that Hindus were somehow to blame for this when, in fact, the author is David S. Poddar, a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which advocates vegetarianism. That the material was from a Christian point of view should have been obvious from one part of the schoolbook's text: "The strongest argument that meat is not essential food is the fact that the Creator of this Universe did not include meat in the original diet for Adam and Eve. He gave them fruits, nuts and vegetables," which is the precise argument of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. The Adventists are leaders in research on vegetarianism in the US, and have done studies showing those among their members who are strict vegetarians (about 30%) live eight to ten years more than the general population.
PRESS RELEASE ON THE TITLE "NEW HEALTHWAY FOR CLASS 6"
By S. Chand Group
"We have taken note of observation published by certain section of media on one of our titles: "New Healthway Series for Class 6", the explanation on non-vegetarian diet, conduct and other remarks. The matter is regrettable and the book has since been withdrawn and would be referred to the author.
"We at S. Chand Group for last seven decades plus have pioneered Indian publishing and as industry leaders are known for our quality, transparency and empowering 3 generation of the country with quality text books. We have an unblemished history till date. This one incident is not only shocking but also saddening to us and it is highly regretted and we are empathically apologetic. The Group founder, Padamshree Late Shyam Lal Gupta Ji, was not only the doyen of publishing industry, but also founder of FIP and main force behind bringing the Indian publishers together and setting up high benchmarks and standards.
"It is also regretted that a miscommunication by some agencies has been carried out that the Series in question is CBSE approved, which is entirely groundless & baseless. This Series is not a part of any curriculum or syllabus and is an extended learning series, which may be used by a School or students at their discretion. To put it on record, a total of only 1,384 copies of the title under question were sold last year and 70 copies sold this year including all kind of School and retail sales in Indian market.
"We regret this particular lapse but at same time also put in record our longstanding service and commitment to publish quality textbooks.
"The content & views expressed in that book are solely the views of the author, David S. Poddar, Former Teacher, Principal and Education Director, Seventh-day Adventist, Hosur, Tamil Nadu. As mentioned earlier, we are discontinuing this title with immediate effect and the content therein would also be put up with the author. We categorically express that there was no intention whatsoever to hurt the sentiments of any individual or group.
"We at S. Chand remain committed to our mission to provide the highest quality content to the students.
"This is the official communication released on behalf of S Chand Group against any query on New Healthway Series Title 6. Any communication in this respect may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org."